What kind of special qualifications, personal characteristics and capabilities should the "master of the world" posess ? What kind of men where those we call "world conquerors" ? These questions are of the highest interest for the development of a <<science of power>> we could call Khanology.
Genghis khan is doubtless the greatest conqueror in human history. Under his successors (children and grandchildren), the Mongol empire does include practically whole of Asia, half of Europe (for a short time) and a small part of Oceania and South-East Asia. Napoleon and Hitler will confine themselves mainly to Europe, as for Alexander the Great, he was quite contented with Egypt and Persia when he died. At its peak, the extent of the Mongol empire was four (4) times that of Alexander and Hitler and six or seven times that of Napoleon; that is, his empire was by far the biggest of them all.
Genghis Khan has never lost a war. Although his armies have tasted defeat once or twice in his numerous campaigns, those were little more than temporary setbacks and their negative impact always cancelled by subsequent victories. His empire was built on the fall or conquest of at least twenty (20) kingdoms: the Tartars, the Merkits, the Keraïts, the Naïmans, the Ouighours, the Tangout (Si-Hia), Northern China (Kin), Southern China (Sung), the Khitans, the Kara Khitaï, the Kharesmian empire, the Russian principalities, Armenia, Georgia, Korea, etc...
Let's point out finally that nothing nor anybody has ever been able to stop him and his armies when he was alive. It is solely "the Khan" who decided what the limits of his conquests should be. Unlike him, Alexander was stopped by a mutiny of his troops at the Hyphasus(1), Napoleon was forced to withdraw from Spain and Russia, Hitler was stopped short at Stalingrad by the Russians, stopped also at the "gates" of Egypt by the British and he was not able to carry out the much talked about "landing on the coast of England" either (nor was Napoleon ever capable of doing so in his time).
Compared to an everywhere victorious Genghis Khan, Napoleon does not look so good. He must withdraw from Egypt after the desaster of Abukir, he is beaten by the Spanish guerrilla, defeated by a partisan- and harassement war in Russia and crushed by the British at Waterloo. Hitler does not fare any better. He lets the British escape at Dunkerk, loses the air war over "the Channel" (the so-called "Battle of England"), is defeated by Montgomery in North Africa, defeated again in Russia and must finally surrender in Berlin in 1945 in front of the united Americans, Russians and British (practically facing total annihilation).
Genghis Khan is then, of the four contenders to the title of World Conqueror, by far the one who made the least mistakes and have always had greater success in all his endeavours.
1. They look alike... somehow
2. The young leader
3. Young Khan of a sub-clan
4. Kha-Khan of all the Mongols
5. Strength and weaknesses
They look alike... somehow
There is a certain resemblance between the four conquerors. Roughly, we can say that they could seize power, lead and unify their people or nation mainly because they came from outside; because they were in part strangers. Napoleon was not French but Corsican, Hitler came from Austria, not Germany. Alexander, even if he spoke in the name of all Greeks, was in fact Macedonian. As for Genghis Khan, some say that he was not of pure Mongol blood. They talk about his cat eyes or gerfalcon eyes (probably gray), his tall stature (Mongols are generally small and short legged), his long beard (very rare for a Mongol) and last but not least his red hair ! It is very well possible that Genghis Khan was not even of pure Asian race, that he was in part a "Westerner", of Aryan (possibly Caucasian) descent, a member of the white(2) race. What a shock !
It follows that the dynamisn brought about by these men owes its magnitude and importance to the fact that it comes from outside. A certain amount of cross-breeding is then synonymous to force and renewal, contrary to what traditional "racist right-wingers" were thinking in the past.
The young leader
All who approach Genghis Khan feel a strong attraction towards him. Sorqan Shera, the one who saved him from the Cang (pillory) and from recapture, was fascinated by the eyes of this adolescent. He could feel in them the soul of a Leader. Bogurtchu, after meeting him for the first time, offers help immediately and is soon at his service (placing his future and fortune in his hands). Later, entire clans and tribes will follow him, subdued by his gifts- and qualities of leadership, his sense of justice, his loyalty to his own people and his gratitude for- and rewarding of- provided services. His affection for- and generosity towards his old friends (the friends of the early hour) was well known. His loyalty to his friends is only matched by his fierceness towards his enemies.
He has often been called a young "Philip" and an old "Alexander", which is quite true. Whereas if after the death of Philip, Alexander inherits the leadership of a strong and prosperous country and commands a mighty and seasoned army, the work of Yesugaï on the contrary (the father of Temudjin(3)) collapses immediately after his death and his people disperses (the temporary unity of these tribes breaks up).
Genghis Khan will have to start all over again from the very beginning. Whereas Alexander has thousands of men under his command, the clan of the young Temudjin numbers only four warriors old enough to fight (who are little more than teenagers really). Besides, this group is not even a clan because it comes down to only ten or twelve people, women and children included. Alexander can leave with his army and start his conquest of the world quite early, at the age of twenty; when Genghis Khan does the same, he is close to fifty years old. Even if Alexander was favored by good luck and Genghis Khan had to fight bad luck during part of his life, the Mongol warrior will go much farther than Alexander and above all live longer.
In his youth, Temudjin was accustomed to intense cold and icy winds from the North. He could stay three or four days without food. He was tall, vigorous, energetic and skilful, a little bit less still than his brother Qassar, the archer, and he had sparkling and glaring wild eyes. He had the ability to move unexpectedly through the steppes, to surprise his enemies. As for his temper and character, let's say that it changed slightly from his youth to adulthood and mature age. In his youth, he was used to hurry on, to hasten- and rush things, to get angry or to get excited for a new project. He was stubborn and wilful.
He didn't know how to read or write, but he knew in details all the legends and exploits of his ancestors, and he had an exceptionnally good memory. He kept his promises and generously shared what he had with others. Yet, he could never forgive someone who dared desobey him.
Temudjin had the willpower that forces personal luck and bends one's fate to his liking; his idea of what is right and should be the law will influence all his policies as a leader of the people. It is of course a <<relative>> and highly subjective idea of what right is and what should be the law, that changes according to prejudices, interests and passions. Genghis Khan shows right from the start his way of understanding this law: he doesn't allow anyone to dare touch what he considers to be rightfully his. His half-brothers steal his share of the game after a hunt or a fishing trip. To punish this misdeed, in fact a crime that is an intolerable infringement of his authority, he kills one of the guilty brothers named Bekter. The mother of the slaughtered son does not protest, because young Temudjin is well within his rights as clan leader.
He never came back on a dispute after it was settled or on a matter after it was ruled and disposed of. He kept no bitter afterthoughts and held no secret grudges (with the possible exception of his brother Qassar, towards whom he often felt anger and jealousy). With time Genghis Khan will acquire two major qualities of leadership: an unfailing patience and this capacity of independance and opposition that allows him to firmly stand up to anything or anyone, against everybody, alone if need be, waiting and getting ready to grab his luck when it comes. Then he lived in a world full of adventures, dangers and deadly traps, which he escaped by luck as much as by skill and courage.
His generosity will bring him lots of new subjects, allies and allegiances; it will be his best publicity and propaganda, the most efficient means for recruiting free spirited warriors willing to join his clan. He knew how to assign each of them to the right position, befitting his rank and abilities. Only those who were well-advised and prudent in combat could become his unit-commanders. A true leader should never regret the appointment of one of his own to any position of importance. If he regrets his decision later and must dismiss and relieve of his post (say for reasons of incompetence) the very person he has appointed earlier, he admits thereby he made a bad choice. Genghis Khan has never had to regret a single choice of his close collaboraters and many subordinates, because he was a good judge of men's character and knew how to evaluate people.
His fierce courage comforted all the newcomers, especially those young warriors that had just joined his clan. But he was also distrustful and always on the alert, then treason was present everywhere on the steppe. When a man shows courage in adverse circumstances, others will come to his help sooner or later. That's what happened to Temudjin when he experienced severe setbacks.
Men, especially warriors, were much more precious to him then rich booty, they would swell the ranks of his army after a victory. The size of his army would then steadily increase.
During his youth, he spent most of his time on horseback, watching the herd and hunting small game. His first exploit as a young leader is his escape from the encampment of the Taïdjuts where he had been taken prisoner. As second exploit, he successfully brings back the eight horses that were stolen from him, after a long three days chase and a fight. Let's point out that he kept his first companions alive because of his extreme vigilance and cunning rather than his strength, then he had first only a small following and a small clan, compared to the mighty hordes of other nomad leaders. He couldn't take any rest, then he was responsible for the life of everyone.
Quite early, young Temudjin knew as well as any seasoned politician that Bortay, the fiancée his father had chosen for him, would be very useful to him later. He was already reckoning all the advantages that an alliance with the father of the young woman (the leader of the mighty Kungirat people) would bring him.
His third exploit consists in the rescue of his wife, that had been abducted by the Merkits. This is the first military operation carried out jointly with the Keraït army of Toghrul Khan. This will make him cross a dangerous threshold. Becoming the ally of the Keraïts means that he was mixing with stronger tribes, that were fighting among themselves for supremacy, and entering therefore the realm of the "great politics" of the steppe. From now on, he had friends in the direction of the caravan trails to the West and enemies on the East: the Taidjuts and the Tartars.
Young Khan of a sub-clan
It is at this moment that he is elected Khan of the Mongols of the sub-clan Kiyat (subdivision of the clan of the Bordjigins) in 1189. He used very characteristic methods to achieve this. He prepared the minds of the people by foretellings, omen and predictions, by manifestations of the divine will in which sorcerers and grand priests played an important part.
Whatever their family or their tribe, men are gathering around the leader (the Khan) in military formation and this leader has only one mission: to lead them to the winning of new pasture grounds, the capture of beautiful women and rich booty. Genghis Khan did no miracle in rallying the nomadic world for a war of conquest, he did something normal, consistent with the tradition, but he did it better than the others.
We can talk of the astonishing improvement of his personal circumstances, the steady progression of his luck: from almost nothing to almost everything; from four (4) companions and nine (9) horses to an army of 250 000 men and a million horses. From a poor barbaric encampment unknown to the world came out of the XIIIth century a universal catastrophy ! Temudjin was working steadily towards a goal according to the laws and means of the vast society of which he was a member, and although poor, he was nonetheless of noble birth and could therefore claim a lot and pretend to much in this world. Then his family was one of the noblest of the Bordjigins.
One is struck by the extreme slowness with which he began to rise. At the age of forty he still aimed at little more than be accepted as a member of the ruling family of a small kingdom (the Keraïts), of which depended only one hundred thousand tents. Nothing leads us to believe he had ambitious plans and far-reaching designs. His ambition was stimulated by current events; swift to seize the opportunity, but never hurrying to force the destiny. He proceeded with circumspection and it is with measured steps that he walked through his prodigious career. The most excessive and exalted of all conquerers was in fact the most moderate and balanced human being in his behavior. Napoleon regarded him with envy; he pointed out that the ambition of Genghis Khan never exceeded the limit of his powers. It is on the contrary for having wished and tried to go beyond the limits of his means and of what was possible that Napoleon failed.
The art of doing what is possible consists first in taking the initiative (offensive) carefully. Temudjin didn't like to venture in unknown territory. By his perseverance to serve his liege lord, he gained considerable influence over Toghrul (the Khan of the Keraïts), This worried the son of Toghrul a lot, then he was the rightful heir: the "Sengoun".
One would like to know why Temudjin finally won the struggle for power over the steppe that opposed him to his arch-rival: Tchamuka (or Djamuga), the Gur Khan of the Djadjirats. Both had noble and influential ancestors, both claimed the same rights, were equally ambitious, brave, good at making speeches, clever, cunning, tireless in action, inexhaustible in weaving webs of intrigue. Djamuga had a better start, but something restless and disorganized (unmethodical) about him can be sensed right away. Bortay will call him fickle. He will reveal himself treacherous, false, untrue, unnecessary cruel and dangerous even for his friends.
Temudjin on the contrary had a solid good sense, a quiet caution and well rooted wisdom. He will show a remarkable balance and an inborn sense of how to rule people. He plays a fair game. Right up to the time when he was forced to execute his former liege lord, he had been faithful and true to him. Never will he forgive later those who handed him over their masters. He will put to death the unfaithful servants, even if their former masters were his enemies. He couldn't trust someone who had betrayed his master and would give him over to the enemy. Even if this could be sometimes to his advantage, Temudjin firmly believed that there is a principle involved here. A servant who has betrayed his former master will also betray the new one. You can never trust a traitor, even if he could be useful and wants to work for you. Thus, Temudjin builds a fortress of trust that Djamuga could not shake.
He welcomes those of the vanquished who have been loyal to their unfortunate master and are willing to serve a new one just as faithfully. He taught his lieutenants the use of discipline and took care to choose his officers only among those he knew for their personal worth and devotion to him. Effective commands would go to loyal and trustworthy men (nevertheless removable). This organization was as good as its leader, and Temudjin had the same correctness, punctuality and inflexibility he was asking from his subordinates. He was well informed and let nothing of importance escape his grasp. Luck is nothing more than a special care of things, even small matters. Temudjin had this attention and consideration. This care for organization, preparedness and readiness was one of his main strengths.
He took great care of always putting right on his side, of showing only reasonable ambitions, of throwing on his enemies the full responsibility of conflicts, of displaying generosity and showing that one had everything to gain with him.
We already mentioned that he knew how to reward those who had served him faithfully. He buried with honors and riches those of his officers who had showed bravery or efficiency. One of the highest awards was to be promoted to the rank of "tarkhan". The means to win over the respect and favorable disposition of a crowd are quite similar everywhere. The surest and most reliable is liberality. As the excellent demagogue that he was, he would take off his coat and give it away; he would get down from the horse he was riding and give it to someone else as a gift. What he couldn't give, he would promise. He elevated the good servants to a higher station, even those who were not of noble birth, or repaid them with kind words.
Enormous hopes were bound to his fate. An unmistakable sign, the Muslim merchants were coming to him, offering him their services, i.e. their help to regulate the lucrative trade of Central Asia, providing him with information, opening remote possibilities and perspectives for him.
Kha Khan of all the Mongols
In 1206, he considers that his situation is stable enough to revive to his own benefit the old nomadic empire of the Huns and the Turks. He was not the inventor, the creator of an original domination (without precedents). People do not like new powers, that smell of usurpation. They ask from sovereignty the seal of time, that gives it a sacred characteristic and the force of a natural law. Thus, old empires retain a moral principle of authority.
He didn't like to rush things. He took great care to prepare the minds to his elevation to the throne by an intense propaganda. He used the same Köktchu, the great sorcerer who had already helped him at the time of his proclamation as Khan. He used religion to the ends of politics, according to Machiavelli's precept. For him, the principles of religion were the very foundations of the state; they should be maintained intact and always be at the disposal of the head of state.
Temudjin received the name Genghis Khan at the Kuriltaï (great gathering or assembly) of 1206. He had then united in one mind and one heart all the nomadic people of Upper Asia. Although barbaric and brutal, he had nothing in common with the primitive warrior that rules only by the sword. On the contrary, he knew quite well that there is no authority without moral principle. He based his own on current ideas of his time, on the divine will, on the divine origin and antiquity of his family, on the general consent and solemn agreement of the people to his rule. In his elevation to the empire, deception and violence played a major role.
There was above all the will to establish a firm and durable order. At the General Assembly of 1206, he promulgates the first version of the Yassak, a simple code of laws, short and easy to understand, but very strict. In his everyday behavior, he will give a personal example of what the obedience to his law should be, a law he saw as unalterable.
Genghis Khan has not been the instrument of the Mongol people, he has been its creator. He couldn't rely on a natural feeling of solidarity between the tribes to build his power; they were fighting bitterly among themselves. Nothing would cost him more than to unify them. But when he had become Great Khan (emperor), since he had forbidden feuds, all fighting between the tribes would stop. All tribes, even the Turks, would like to join and be Mongols like him (to share honour and glory). Do not look in the people he belonged (in his ethnicity) for the first foundation of his success. He would draw neither strength nor weakness from it.
"I want that this people, that, like a rock crystal, has always shown me a clear loyalty till the end of all my efforts, be called from now on Keuke Mongol and be the first of all those that live on this earth." In giving them a new name, he made them a single family with a single soul. To a multitude of tribes and clans, he substituted a great Mongol nation. The generalization of the name "Mongol" and its application to all inhabitants of the steppe will create a kind of national unity. He wants to rise this people to power, "above all that breathes on this earth". In raising his own people above all others, he creates the concept of World Conquest.
After his rise to the empire, Genghis Khan did not need anymore such a massive support from the great sorcerer Köktchu. On the contrary, as leader of the Mongol, he couldn't tolerate besides him (and eventually against him) people invested with the privilege to talk to God and the power to speak in his name. Köktchu, far from understanding this and making himself as small and inconspicuous as possible, challenged him openly and plotted against him. The Khan's response was to have him killed and replaced by an easier to handle and more understanding new great sorcerer.
The meeting of Genghis Khan with a Uighur prisoner named Tatatunga made him grasp right away the political and above all ideological importance of writing and culture. He instructs Tatatunga to teach all his children to read and write. A glance at the seal carried by Tatatunga revealed all this to him, i.e. the importance of writing and education in civilization. To understand this at first sight, he must have possessed an intelligence high above the average of his time. Power is knowledge ! That is one of Genghis Khan's discoveries. But knowledge without willpower does not go very far. A World conqueror must also have the will to increase his might, to apply this knowledge to gain more power still. In his work, Genghis Khan embodies the balance between thinking and acting, and between knowledge (that feeds the thoughts) and willpower (that finds its accomplishment in action).
He believed that a deed or action is only good as far as it is complete, if we go through all the way with it. One must be patient and persevering. The rise of Temudjin to the Khanat and his conquests show that an action that is pursued long enough, or an effort that is maintained for a significant amount of time, never fail to bring results. The secret of Genghis Khan can be summed up as follows: patience and length of time.
He forbids his sons and his Urkhans to show the enemy any mercy without a formal order from him. Only severity keeps men in the proper state of obedience. He knows that a vanquished enemy is not subdued and will always hate his new master. Only a dead enemy will not rebel once defeated; the only good enemy is then a dead one.
Finally, let us mention that twice in his life he had difficulty to take crucial decisions; that is: he was hesitating, having second thoughts, doubting himself and even totally losing self-confidence for a short while. It is in these difficult moments that his wife Bortay would give him precisely the good advice he needs. She will give him the strength to break with Djamuga and this way take back his freedom, and she will induce him to take revenge and punish the malevolent great sorcerer. In these two occasions, Genghis Khan will show himself weak and unable to take his decisions alone, but otherwise he proved himself capable of an important personal disposition: this ability to listen to other people and to know how to recognize and follow a sound advice or a word of wisdom.
Since he couldn't read, he liked to compensate this weakness by listening. His acute and attentive ears will make him learn lots of things from the mouth of foreign ambassadors, emissaries, merchants and of course from his advisors, close friends and relatives.
Others, who have claimed with less rights the title of <<World Conquerors>> were privileged to have an early start and a much easier task. Caesar could use the precision machine of the Roman army and the Roman state. Alexander inherited from his father the best army in the world. Napoleon took command of an already trained army and had at his disposal a new revolutionary order that he didn't have to create himself.
Genghis Khan, on the contrary, didn't find an already built state-machinery and a seasoned army when he inherited the leadership of his clan. What he had first at his disposal were nothing more than semi-mythical traditions of a <<kingdom of a thousand years>> of the nomads of Central Asia. Dreams and traditions were his possibilities when he started; an inspired policy will change them into reality.
He didn't forget one minute where he came from and on what he could build. He who shook the world never dare touch this one thing: the laws and traditions of his people. He mercilessly bends Asia, and even himself, to this law. His greatest virtue as a leader was to have given a clear purpose to his policy: World's domination by the Mongols, the entire Earth to the nomads ! To him, the will- and the idea of nomadism are conscious: the enemy is the settled civilization, the city-people.
Strength and weaknesses
In the Mongol army, rank corresponds to both social position and personal capability. Not all members of noble families are suitable or fit for command. For instance, a captain must break an incompetent sergeant immediately. Genghis Khan personally appoints all generals and colonels, sometimes even the captains, according to his knowledge of them and their personal abilities. His exceptional memory and psychological judgment will guide him in his choices almost infallibly. Someone who rules his house well can be an officer, a good squadron leader can become captain. He knows a good leader by looking at his wife: if she keeps her household in order, knows how to welcome her guests, raises her children well. From a bad leader, he takes the wife responsible.
Bravery is the first of virtues, but it must be tempered with caution. He doesn't like hotheads that rush ahead and fall into traps and ambush. No drunk-, careless- or lazy leaders, that are not ready when he needs them. From top to bottom of the chain of command , everyone at any time stands to attention and is ready to execute the standing order, the command or the instruction.
Once the mission's objectives have been determined, he gives his army commanders entire freedom of action. He doesn't lead- or take part to any specific operation, if he is sometimes present at the beginning, it is only to watch and get sure that everything is under way. When he is certain that all goes according to plan, he goes back to his camp and monitors the whole campaign from there.
He spread confidence and enthusiasm around him, and got his troops accustomed to obey the rules. In his victorious campaigns, he displayed less juvenile ardor and dynamism than Alexander. He had nothing in common with the dashing figure of the traditional "flashy" hero-warrior full of "panache". If he did sometimes go into action himself, it was only to set an example: "to show the troops". Otherwise , he would stay back to supervise the campaign as a whole. Above all, single operations were prepared long beforehand. For him, battle was only the end-result (the outcome) of numerous political maneuver.
He was patient, could wait when he had to. In his youth, he waited long years for the favorable occasion, quite casually; older, he accomplished great deeds very fast, without ever seeming to hurry up. He was one of those bulky looking people who are always on time, without showing any haste. He was not a romantic hero looking for adventure. He didn't like fancy armour or tricky fights. He was a practical man, working for immediate profit; always ready for action. His principle was to do everything in its own good time and place.
His actions always conformed to the custom and traditions of his people. As an aristocrat of the steppe, he was polite and showed good manners (generous and hospitable). He fulfilled his duty (both as a father and his social duty) admirably. Always in control of himself, he avoided domestic quarrels and loud outbursts. He was honest, loyal, and thought that the worst thing for a head of state was to fail to keep his word. His cunning doesn't seem to have gone beyond the necessities of caution, and he was very cautious.
He liked life for itself and did not bother to look for a meaning. He simply enjoyed it, peacefully, without perverse refinings or wild passions. Matters of state did not prevent him from relaxing and enjoying himself. Every year, they would stop to rest the horses and seek entertainment for the men. He himself would enjoy the company of beautiful women. He did drink but without excess. He criticized drunkenness that upsets bodily organs and unsettles the mind.
His ambition was enormous but measured, without limits: its goal was the spot (place) it reached. It was an ambition exactly proportionate to the size of the man and its means. It was not, like was the case for Napoleon, the anxious desire of something he knew he couldn't reach, but the claim of something that he thought naturally belonged to him. What he saw within his reach belonged to him. He took it, didn't allow anyone to dispute the fact it was his. The one who dared dispute it was a rebel. He was jealous of his right and his booty. However, he was generous with his faithful servants.
Napoleon is believed to have said: <<I was not as lucky as Genghis Khan>>. The latter kept his solid good sense even in face of enormous odds and opportunities. He who had begun his career with nine (9) horses didn't lose his head when he saw a million horses following him. He thought of what he would do with them with a clear mind.
Till the end he will stay a nomad and an aristocrat of the steppe. He believed the life of a nomad was the only way to happiness for him and his people. He predicted that if his people and their children stayed true to their traditional way of life, they would secure a prosperous future and happiness for a thousand, even ten thousand years. But he knew that his descendants would forget their nomadic origin. He warned his children against such a decadence that would bring the fall of the empire.
He despised agriculture, settlements, colonists and city dwellers. He rarely promoted city-inhabitants to higher ranks in his administration, only as specialists.
He was confident and spread confidence all around him. This spontaneous process brought him closer to his men than is usually the case with average leaders. There was a psychological side to his extraordinary influence on others. He had a deep understanding of human nature, he knew his men and knew how to talk to them. He attracted the best warriors and could recognize valour at a glance.
Right from the start, he gained devoted friends to whom he was totally devoted. Never was he whimsical in his choices of friends and these would last him a lifetime. This way, he would build a well trained team, that would increase in size and eventually influence the entire Mongol people. Even the simple soldier at the bottom would believe himself to be an inseparable companion of his fortune. Nobody was left behind. So he could ask all of them to fulfill their duty just as he was fulfilling his obligations to them. Everyone then believed to be at its right place and treated fairly.
His captains played a major part in his victories. Nonetheless, it was him who set up the plans, organized things and gave the marching orders. He planned the whole campaign, watched the army moves and had to stay ahead mentally every step of the way. The obedience of his troops and the disorganization of the enemy would do the rest.
He didn't weave complicated plans, but was nevertheless capable to elevate himself to the highest ideas because he contained and dominated his nomadic instincts. Unable to read or write, or to understand any other language than Mongolian, he would carefully listen to other men, especially the wise ones. He would keep in mind the simple and important facts that have practical value, without giving too much attention to scholar subtleties and intellectual speculations that go beyond his need. He always saw the right point (the right side) of a possibility and all that must be done at the precise moment it should be. That is the only secret of all great accomplishments: military or political.
(1) Which shows that he was less well in control of his troops than Genghis Khan.
(2) Some talk about the brightness (possibly paleness) of his face.
(3) Temudjin was his name before he was elected Khan:
the name of his youth.
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© October 2002 Jean-Claude Rochefort. All rights reserved.